Saturday, 28 February 2015

Vanuatu ready for a festival-filled 2015

Pentecost Island
Known for its incredible variety of traditional festivals, Vanuatu is set to play host to another culture-rich calendar of events in 2015, encompassing history, arts and tradition. Here are just a few must-see festivals for the year ahead.

Land Diving Nagol Festivals, April to June, 2015

Famous around the world, people come from all over to bear witness to the brave land diving ritual (Nagol or N’gol) in south Pentecost Island. The traditional event takes places across three different jump sites, Londot, Lonorore and Rangusuksu. Men and boys as young as seven jump from a 20 to 40 metre high manmade tower with only a vine tied around their ankle, carefully selected by experienced land divers. The festival takes place every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from April to mid-June.

Rom Festival (Fanla, Ambrym), 16 to 17 July, 2015

Taking place in the ancient Fanla village on Ambrym Island, the mystical Rom Dance and Black Magic Festival is as authentic as it gets in Vanuatu. With around 20 energetic dancers in ceremonial head dresses and costumes dancing to the powerful beat of the Tam Tam drums, the festival draws a crowd of over 300 village people. Rarely seen by outsiders, visitors to Vanuatu can watch this circumcision ceremony which also includes traditional bamboo music, mouth organ playing, traditional cooking, weaving demonstrations and powerful black magic. Visitors can also purchase some traditional wood and lava stone carvings to take home with them.

Port Sandwich Festival, Malekula, 2 to 3 August, 2015

In July 1774, Captain Cook landed in Port Sandwich to a friendly welcome from the indigenous locals. Some 200 years later, the community of Lamap invites travellers to come to their village and celebrate. The Port Sandwich Arts Festival is held over two days and displays a wealth of customs and cultural activities. Held at Dravail Village close to Lamap on Malekula, the festival comprises an authentic pig exchange ceremony, local skills display, as well as dance music and stories combined with delicious organic local fare. There’s also the option to stay with a host family in the village overnight to become truly immersed in the authentic experience.

Back To My Roots Festival, 19 to 21 August, 2015

A three day festival in Olal Village in north Ambrym, the Back To My Roots Festival celebrates the local customs, history and culture that are signatory to Ambrym, such as traditional dances, demonstrations of magic and other local culture. The festival centres on Halhal Fantor village in the Olal region, which boasts a string of events. The first day begins with a traditional opening ceremony (Hipipirrhan), followed by traditional dances, flute-playing, magic, local food, children’s games and sand drawing displays. The festival concludes with a performance of the local custom dance.


Lakona Bay Kastom Festival, Gaua Island, 20 to 21 August, 2015

Lakona Bay Kastom Festival
Taking place in August over two days, the Lakona Bay Kastom Festival on Gaua Island packs a punch when it comes to experiencing the local culture of Vanuatu. The festival exhibits traditional dancing and rituals along with a wood and stone carving and weaving demonstrations. In the evening, guests can enjoy kava tasting, cooking and dining on local cuisine as well as a night of music on the beach.

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre celebrates 60 years friendship with Australia

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre(the Centre) has pulled off another successful Australia Day Reception…for the 8th consecutive year! Hosted by the Australian High Commission Malaysia and officiated by Malaysian Minister of Human Resources, Dato’ Sri Richard Riot Jaem and Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, H.E. Rod Smith PSM,close to 1,000 guests from the government, Malaysian society and the Australian community in Malaysia, gathered to celebrate the occasion and, more importantly, mark the 60th anniversary of Australia’s diplomatic presence in Malaysia.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) 2015,the Centre’s General Manager, Alan Pryor said, “the Australia Day Reception is always the perfect event for us to kick off thenew year. And this being the 8th consecutive year the auspicious gathering is being held at the Centre makes the Australian High Commission Malaysia one of our longest-standing recurrent clients.”

With the Centre celebrating its 10th year in business this year (2015), Pryor concurred that a loyal group of repeat clients have been key to transforming the venue from ‘new kid on the block’ in 2005 to Malaysia’s premier convention centre and one of Asia Pacific’s leading meetings venues today.

“Repeat clients provide a stable of core event search year and we are extremely grateful for their on-going support. Their confidence in us is a great motivator to continue ‘pushing the envelope’ to deliver flexible and innovative solutions, and to make every event better than the last. They also contribute significantly to our yearly results such as a milestone 2014with 1,759 events hosted, an11% increase over the previous record of 1,565 in 2013, and delegate numbers at over 1.97 million, against 1.96 million in 2013.”

Cognisant of this, the Centre is celebrating her 10th anniversary with a host of marketing and promotional packages to thank clients and stakeholders who have contributed;directly and indirectly, to the venue’s growth and success to date. These range from discounts on ancillary charges for Day Conference Packages (DCPs) and complimentary mocktails for Banquets to Exhibition Loyalty Value-Add Programme tier upgrades, and much more.

Pryor added the Centre will take the experience, knowledge and commitment to quality garnered in her first 10 years to drive the company forward this year as well as into her next decade as reflected in the 10th anniversary tagline, ‘Focusing on perfection, always, celebrating ten enriching years’, and accompanying message, ‘Leaving you with memorable impressions is what drives us. Our motto will always be to passionately deliver excellence to make you happy’.

Among the high-profile events on the Centre’s 2015 roster isthe Australian-based International Primary Care Conference and Exhibition (IPCCE) 2015 and other international heavyweights such as the ASEAN Finance Ministers Meeting 2015, Global Food Safety Conference 2015, 18th Human Genome Meeting 2015, Global Round World Scholar Cup 2015,International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST) 2015,Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Association of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (APACRS) 2015, Congress of the International Society for Hemodialysis (ISHD) 2015, Congress of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology 2015, and Asean Federation of Endocrine Society (AFES) 2015.

These upcoming events will add an already impressive track record of more than 17.6 million delegates and visitors from 9,969 events and an economic impact contribution to Malaysia of RM5.6 billion (AUD2 billion) from June 2005 through to 31 December 2014.

Spring festivals draw visitors to Bac Ninh

Thousands of visitors flocked to the Phat Tich Pagoda in the northern province of Bac Ninh in Vietnam for its annual peony festival, held on February 22 (the fourth day of the first lunar month).

The Phat Tich pagoda, a special national relic site located just 25 kilometres northeast of Ha Noi, was built in 1057 on a mountain called Lan Kha during the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong (1054-1072). It was reduced to ashes by French colonialists in 1948 and restored in 1987.

During the excavation of the pagoda from 1949-1951, archaeologists found numerous old stone sculptures carved with flowers and dragons, bird goddess statues from the 17th century, and a piece engraved with the head of a fairy, all of which are now on display at the National History Museum.

A giant Buddha Amitabha statue, 27 metres tall and weighing 3,000 tonnes, was installed outside on the Lan Kha Mountain in 2010. It was adapted from a similar structure from the Ly Dynasty.

The Phat Tich Pagoda is associated with Tu Thuc’s meeting with a fairy. As the legend goes, there were endless peonies on Lan Kha Mountain and in the pagoda, leading a young woman to visit the pagoda one day to see the flowers. She carelessly broke a tree branch and was fined by the monks, but a local scholar, Tu Thuc, was also visiting the pagoda and offered his coat to compensate for the broken branch. They became friends and continued to meet at the pagoda. The woman ultimately invited Tu Thuc to visit her house, leading him to a peony forest and into a cave on the mountainside with an imperial palace with high walls and stone footsteps. She revealed that she was a fairy and they got married.

Every year, people visit the pagoda to take part in the peony festival, where they enjoy looking at the flowers, listening to quan ho (love duets) and poem recitations, and playing traditional games. The festival usually lasts three days.

The same day, thousands of international and domestic tourists gathered for the Dong Ky Firecrackers Festival in Tu Son Town to enjoy the two giant symbolic firecrackers and the annual procession.

They also joined in traditional games and enjoyed art performances during the event.

Although the Government banned firecrackers in 1995, the locality has preserved and upheld the tradition symbolically to ensure its continuity.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Celebrating 60 Years of Australia-Malaysia Friendship!

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre has pulled off another successful Australia Day Reception…for the 8th consecutive year!

Hosted by the Australian High Commission Malaysia and officiated by Malaysian Minister of Human Resources, Dato’ Sri Richard Riot Jaem and Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, H.E. Rod Smith PSM, close to 1,000 guests from the government, Malaysian society and the Australian community in Malaysia, gathered to celebrate the occasion and, more importantly, mark the 60th anniversary of Australia’s diplomatic presence in Malaysia.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) 2015, the Centre’s General Manager, Alan Pryor said, “the Australia Day Reception is always the perfect event for us to kick off the new year. And this being the 8th consecutive year the auspicious gathering is being held at the Centre makes the Australian High Commission Malaysia one of our longest-standing recurrent clients.”

With the Centre celebrating its 10th year in business this year (2015), Pryor concurred that a loyal group of repeat clients have been key to transforming the venue from ‘new kid on the block’ in 2005 to Malaysia’s premier convention centre and one of Asia Pacific’s leading meetings venues today.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang greets over 15,000 tourists on New Year days

Over 15,000 holiday-makers visited the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in the central province of Quang Binh in Vietnam during the first five days of the Year of the Goat (February 19-23), up over 10 percent against the same period last year.

Phong Nha and Tien Son caves were the most attractive destinations in the park, drawing nearly 8,900 visitors.

Le Thanh Loi, Director of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang Tourism Centre, said his agency offered a 10 percent discount on food and services at the centre’s restaurants, while adding traditional dishes to restaurant’s menu during the holiday.

During the occasion, historical and spiritual tourist sites in the province such as Than Dinh Mountain, Tam Co cave, Lieu Hanh princess temple also attracted a large number of tourists.

Established in 2001, the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is among the 238 most important ecological zones in the world. It was recognised by the UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage Site on geological and geomorphologic criteria in 2003.

Recently, the Viet Nam Records Organisation listed four tourism sites in Quang Binh amongst the top 50 must-see travel destinations in Viet Nam, including Phong Nha Cave, Ngang Pass, Nhat Le Beach and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

With the opening of Son Doong Cave in 2013, Quang Binh was instantly catapulted onto the bucket lists of travellers all over the world.

The New York Times named Quang Binh as one of the most attractive destinations in Asia and ranked it eighth out of the world’s 52 must-see sites for 2014, while US magazine Business Insider included Son Doong Cave in its list of the 12 most impressive caves.

An Evening With Morrissey: Exclusive to Vivid Live During Vivid Sydney

Morrissey to perform exclusively for Australian audiences during Vivid Sydney as part of Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House on Tuesday May 26, Wednesday May 27, Saturday May 30 and Sunday May 31, 2015

“There can't be many musicians that have a following as loyal as Morrissey, a leader for all who are lost, angry and disenchanted; a poetic voice for those unable to articulate their discontent.”
– The Independent UK

Destination NSW and the Sydney Opera House today announced British popular music visionary Morrissey will perform four exclusive performances at Vivid LIVE during Vivid Sydney, the Southern Hemisphere's largest festival of light, music and ideas.

“An Evening With Morrissey” will take place at the Sydney Opera House on 26-27 May and 30-31 May and will be the artist's only Australian appearances.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said, “Vivid LIVE is set to wow audiences once again with the announcement of influential indie musician, Morrissey as the first artist on this year's program. As one of music's most enduring figures, Morrissey is set to captivate audiences in his Sydney-exclusive performances during Vivid Sydney.”

Vivid Sydney, the Southern Hemisphere's largestfestival of light, music and ideas, is owned and managed by the NSW Government's tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera Houseforms part of the Vivid Music program and is a celebration of ambitious popular music, running from 22 May - 8 June, – the first time the program has run for the duration of Vivid Sydney. Vivid LIVE is the highlight of Sydney Opera House's year-round contemporary music programming.

Morrissey is one of popular music's most singular and iconic figures. Variously described as an irrefutably bleak or gloriously funny songwriter, Morrissey's romantic narratives immortalise the post-industrial recession of '80s era Manchester through to the current day. The crooning legend continues to create art across multiple mediums to the delight of his devoted fans, from the instant Penguin Classic Autobiography to his critically acclaimed 10th album World Peace Is None of Your Business.

With high demand expected for this Sydney-exclusive performance, tickets will be allocated through a ballot (details below).

Now in its seventh year, Vivid LIVE will be overseen by Ben Marshall, the Opera House's Head of Contemporary Music and recently appointed as the Curator for Vivid LIVE. Ben has brought the likes of The National, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and Flying Lotus to the Opera House Concert Hall stage.

Ben Marshall, Vivid LIVE Curator at Sydney Opera House said “I am honoured to be taking on this role after Fergus Linehan's sensational run and cannot wait to release the full program. Vivid LIVE as part of Vivid Sydney is a wonderful opportunity to transform the Opera House inside and out – it's the only time contemporary music is able to take over the whole House.

“I'm thrilled that the first announcement for Vivid LIVE 2015 is a Sydney-only residency by the uniquely gifted and inimitably stylish Morrissey. I have vivid teenage memories of his face all over our lever-arch files in high school. So it's amazing to now showcase his artistry on the Concert Hall stage. These four vital, intimate concerts will be a very special occasion for all those like-minded souls who've been affected by Morrissey. But get in early, as these concerts will sell out.”

The full program for Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House is expected to be announced during the Vivid Sydney program launch next month. vividsydney.com/ sydneyoperahouse.com/vividLIVE

SEASON DETAILS

WHAT: An Evening with Morrissey
WHEN: Tuesday 26 May, Wednesday 27 May, Saturday 30 May and Sunday 31 May
WHERE: Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall
TICKETS: From $109+bf

IMPORTANT TICKETING INFORMATION

Sydney Opera House expects high demand for tickets for Morrissey's series of concerts exclusive to Australia based on touring successes internationally. To ensure everyone has an equal chance to purchase tickets, Sydney Opera House has put in place an online application process. This will minimise the congestion through sales channels and distribute tickets to fans across time zones, states and countries.

Apply for your tickets anytime between Monday 2 March 2015 (midday AEDT) and Friday 6 March 2015 (midnight AEDT)
Tickets will not be allocated on a first come first served basis, all applications received during this period will be equally considered.
To apply go to www.sydneyoperahouse.com/morrissey
APPLICATIONS CANNOT BE ACCEPTED OVER THE PHONE OR IN PERSON

Vivid LIVE

From 22 May – 8 June, Sydney Opera House will welcome some of the most ambitious and innovative local and international artists for Vivid LIVE - a celebration of music on the nation's most famous stages - as part of Vivid Sydney, the Southern Hemisphere's largest festival of light, music and ideas.

Vivid LIVE invites the world's leading artists, creative collectives, promoters and digital animators to raise the roof of Sydney Opera House's theatres, rehearsal spaces, recording studios and most famously, its iconic sails, which are transformed into a unique canvas each year for Vivid Sydney.

Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney is the Southern Hemisphere's largest festival of light, music and ideas, which for 18 days - from 22 May to 8 June 2015 - transforms the Harbour City with its colourful creative canvas. Now in its seventh year, and owned and managed by Destination NSW, the NSW Government's tourism and major events agency, Vivid Sydney features large scale light installations and projections (Vivid Light); music performances and collaborations (Vivid Music including Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House); and creative ideas, discussion and debate (Vivid Ideas), all celebrating Sydney as the creative hub of the Asia-Pacific. For more information visit www.vividsydney.com

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Malta international fireworks festival – 25th, 30th April and 02 may 2015

The Ministry for Tourism and the Malta Tourism Authority will be organizing the 14th edition of the Malta International Fireworks Festival. The Festival has become a landmark event in the Islands’ calendar of events, with the closing display this year taking place in the tourist hub of Bugibba. The festival forms part of the anniversary celebrations of Malta’s accession to the European Union and the colourful spectacle annually attracts thousands of locals and visitors alike.

Following last year’s success, this year’s events shall kick off once again in the picturesque fishing village of Marsaxlokk on Saturday 25th April. The spectacle will continue on Thursday 30th April in the unique settings of Valletta’s Grand Harbour and the closing display in the tourist hub of Bugibba on Saturday 02nd May with a Pyromusical show.

The festival has rightfully earned the title “International” as over the years it has attracted foreign pyrotechnic companies from as far afield as Australia, Canada and Venezuela and closer to home like, Italy, Austria, Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

Several Maltese and foreign fireworks factories will be taking part in the upcoming Malta International Fireworks Festival, who will together put on a spectacular pyrotechnic show with fantastic fireworks displays synchronized to music. The competitors in this year’s Festival were short listed from a number of applicants.

The foreign participants competing in the International Pyromusical Competition will be Thailand Fireworks from Thailand, and A.P.E. di Parente Romualdo from Italy. The local participants in this competition will be St. Mary Fireworks Factory from Ghaxaq, Lourdes Fireworks Factory from Qrendi and St. Andrew’s Band Fireworks Factory from Luqa.

The participants competing for the National Fireworks Competition will be Lourdes Fireworks Factory from Qrendi, St. Mary Fireworks Complex from Mgarr and Socjeta Piroteknika 15 ta’ Awissu from Mosta. Winners will be conferred with a special trophy according to their ranking, whilst the other participants will receive commemorative trophies.

Our Islands are renowned for the love of fireworks, which form a core part of almost any celebration or event organised, be it secular or religious. This year’s event will prove to be an added reason to visit some of Malta’s most scenic and historic spots during April and May.

Balloon Spectacular Proves the Force Is Strong in Canberra

An Angry Bird and Star War's Yoda will fly the skies over Canberra in March. The specially shaped hot air balloons are special guests at the Canberra Balloon Spectacular which is celebrating its 29th year.

Each morning between Saturday 7 March and Sunday 15 March, Canberra's skies will be filled with dozens of floating hot air balloons. Each year the event features a number of special shape balloons from across the globe, which add a sense of novelty to the stunning setting.

This year's special shapes, Yoda and an Angry Birds balloon, will be among more than 30 giant hot air balloons that will travel to Canberra from as far away as Belgium and the United States to participate in the Canberra Balloon Spectacular.

Pilots begin inflating their balloons on the lawns of Old Parliament House from 6.15am each day, before ascending into the sky and creating a picturesque backdrop for Canberra's national attractions.

The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is the only event in the world where balloons can fly in such close proximity to houses of Government and buildings of national significance.

Spectators on the ground are treated to an experience of the senses with a flurry of colour, sound and movement, complemented by the delicious hot breakfast available for purchase from the Belconnen Lions Club.

Be sure to be up early so as not to miss the action on the ground or in the air at this year's Balloon Spectacular.

After the Canberra Balloon Spectacular you can catch some impressive blockbuster exhibitions including James Turrell: A Retrospective at the National Gallery of Australia. Exclusive to Canberra, the exhibitionfeatures more than 50 works tracing five decades of the American artist's career from early light projections and holograms through to immersive light installations addressing our perceptions and how we see.

Be moved by the Australian War Memorial's Australia in the Great War exhibition in the newly-opened First World War Galleries. Australia in the Great War is one of the most significant First World War exhibitions in the world, drawing on the Memorial's unique collection of First World War artefacts, technology, uniforms, medals, photographs, film, and personal items such as letters and diaries.

As well as a thriving arts scene, Canberra is home many memorable food and wine experiences. You'll find more than 30 boutique cellar doors within 35 minutes drive of the city, while bistro-style cafes and quality quick eats blend perfectly with stylish restaurants and sleek high-end dining experiences in Canberra. Explore the hot new dining precincts like Braddon, NewActon and the Kingston Foreshore.

For more information about what's on in Canberra and to book accommodation, go to www.visitcanberra.com.au or download the free iPad edition of the Canberra Region Visitor Guide from the App Store.

Malaysia’s Industry Champions Feted at KESATRIA Gala Evening

Champions of Malaysian industry gathered for ‘A Knight to Remember’ gala dinner at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (The Centre). The event was graced by Datuk Rashidi Hasbullah, Deputy – Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia who represented the honourable Dato Seri Nazri Aziz, the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia and also the Chief Patron of the Kesatria 1Malaysia programme.

The gala dinner was held to celebrate the contributions of Malaysian industry champions known as Kesatria and to welcome the newly – appointed Kesatria.

Organised by Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), the gala dinner held at The Centre was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia , board members of MyCEB, past and present Kesatria, association leaders, and business events industry players.

In his speech read by Datuk Rashidi Hasbullah, the Chief Patron said he was confident the Kesatria would bring Malaysia to greater heights.

“I am confident our Kesatria will continue to spur their industries to greater heights.

Accordingly, their efforts will not only profile their member organisation but raise Malaysia’s standing on a global scale and contribute to our business tourism target of RM 3.9 billion in Gross National Income while establishing over 16,700 additional jobs for Malaysians by 2020.”, YB Dato Seri Nazri Aziz.

ICC Sydney's World Class Innovations Celebrated at AIME

International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) has been presented the Best Innovative Stand Award at the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) in Melbourne overnight.

Less than two years from opening, ICC Sydney is already winning awards for its marketing of Australia's premier and first fully integrated convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct.

ICC Sydney's expo stand showcased a new virtual look inside the venue with a video overlaying animation and real footage. Blending the virtual with the physical, the stand also featured a model of the venue with detailed floor plans of each level which allowed people to draw traffic flows, highlight rooms and discover the venue's integration for the first time.

ICC Sydney CEO and AEG Ogden Director of Convention Centres, Geoff Donaghy said he was proud to see his team being recognised for their passion and determination to deliver world class experiences at ICC Sydney.

"Our promise is to deliver world class in everything that we do and tonight's award for innovation underlines that commitment," Mr Donaghy said.

Opening in December 2016, ICC Sydney's 70 rooms, seamless connectivity and inner city, waterfront destination deliver a premium choice for global and local business events.

Dubai Destination Updates

At The Top - Sky

Dubai 360

In August 2014, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, announced the launch of Dubai 360, which would eventually offer interactive 360-degree virtual tours of the city. Six months later, in January 2015, it was launched in full at www.Dubai360.com. Developed over an 18-month period and utilising 1,298 pieces of panoramic video and photo content, Dubai 360 is the world's largest and highest quality interactive city tour, offering a great way for visitors to explore the city from anywhere in the world.

At the Top, Burj Khalifa SKY

At the Top, Burj Khalifa SKY opened on the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa in October 2014, setting a new Guinness World Record for 'highest observation deck'. The new attraction offers visitors an unrivalled view of Dubai as well as various additional elements such as information stations and visual displays to enhance the overall experience.

Jumeirah Corniche

October 2014 saw Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) open the Jumeirah Corniche in its entirety. The 14km-long beachfront stretches from the Burj Al Arab all the way to Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, and comprises a five-metre wide walkway, a four-metre wide jogging track, rest areas including retail kiosks and shaded benches overlooking the beach.

Dubai Tram

The much-anticipated Dubai Tram was officially launched on 11 November 2014 amidst a blaze of fireworks and celebrations. With one Gold cabin, four Silver cabins and two cabins for women and children, each tram has a capacity to carry 405 passengers.The tram is also integrated into the general transport network, connected with Dubai Metro at two stations in Dubai Marina and linked to Palm Jumeirah's Monorail.

Dubai International Writers' Centre

The Dubai International Writers' Centre (DIWC), the first of its kind in the Middle East, opened in Dubai's Al Shindagha Historical Neighbourhood in November 2014. Housed in a reconstructed wind-tower house beside the bustling Creek, the Centre offers creative workshops, writer-in-residence programmes, film nights, book clubs, recitals and lectures.

Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide opened the Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai in November 2014. Located on Sheikh Zayed Road opposite the Dubai World Trade Centre, the hotel is part of a three-tower, mixed-use development and boasts 474 guestrooms and suites, as well as 180 one- to three-bedroom serviced apartments.

Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach

The five-star Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach began welcoming guests in mid-November 2014. Set on a pristine, natural beach, the hotel offers 237 ultra-spacious guestrooms, including 49 suites. It's also home to ten restaurants and lounges, one of the city's most lavish spas, three swimming pools and fun family activities.

Pullman Jumeirah Lakes Towers Hotel & Residence

Accor's upmarket hotel brand, Pullman, opened its second property in the UAE at Jumeirah Lakes Towers in January 2015. The upscale 35-floor tower hotel features 278 elegant rooms and 76 luxurious suites and serviced apartments, as well as restaurants, 11 meeting rooms, a spa and rooftop pool.

Dubai Business Events - News Updates 2015

Dubai hosts SITE Executive Summit 2015

Dubai Business Events (DBE) hosted the SITE Executive 2015 at the JW Marriott Hotel February 9-13, 2015. Global incentive industry leaders including SITE's Board of Directors and the Foundation Board of Trustees held board meetings and educational seminars during the event. An educational programme on incentive travel was also held to broaden the local travel and hospitality community's understanding of the industry's unique needs and attendees also got to experience Dubai's premier business events offer first hand.

Congress ambassadors honoured for their efforts

Twenty-eight high-profile individuals and organisations were honoured by Dubai Business Events (DBE) for their ongoing efforts to attract and host international conferences in the emirate, further reinforcing its position as a global hub for knowledge exchange.

The combined efforts of the honourees at the 4th Annual Al Safeer Congress Ambassadors Programme's Recognition and Networking Event, held at the Dubai World Trade Centre on January 20, 2015, resulted in tens of thousands of leading global experts and thought leaders visiting Dubai last year to attend over a dozen major conferences, including the L'Oreal Business Forum, the International Tennis Federation's Annual General Meeting, the Asia Pacific Dental Congress and the World Engineering Education Forum.

DBE racks up key event wins in 2014

In addition to hosting key events this year such as the 23rd Congress of the International Academy of Legal Medicine and the 2015 International Dragon Award Annual Conference, Dubai Business Events (DBE) won an impressive 59 international business event bids in 2014 alone comprising association conferences, corporate meetings and incentive trips. DBE submitted a further 30 bids for major events to be held from 2015 onwards.

Coming up: Next 12 months

  • The first phase of the 'Dubai Trolley', an electric hop on-hop off trolley tram, is set to open in early 2015, running on a 7km stretch in the Downtown area.
  • New luxury property Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights will launch in March 2015. The hotel will overlook the Dubai Creek and offer 464 rooms, 76 luxurious suites and 405 private residential apartments.
  • The Hard Rock Hotel Dubai Marina, located in Marina 101 tower, is set to open in mid-2015.
  • The 150mx93m Dubai Frame project near Zabeel Park is expected to be ready in the second half of 2015. The attraction will offer a view of modern Dubai on one side and the older city on the other, with a viewing gallery at its top.
  • Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts' first Middle East property is set to open on Dubai's Palm Jumeirah in the autumn of 2015.

BridgeClimb Takes Event Hosting to New Heights

On 26th March 2015, BridgeClimb launches three new Corporate Packages, adding to its extensive suite of products carefully tailored for the Eastern, Western and Corporate markets.

The new Corporate Packages offer memorable team building events at a unique venue and were created in collaboration with some of Australia's top EAs, PAs and CEOs. Special features include VIP welcome receptions, corporate branding options and pre and post-Climb catering.

BridgeClimb CEO Todd Coates said, “Our new corporate packages have been created to enhance the BridgeClimb experience. They build on 16 years of success in facilitating corporate activities, specifically motivating, rewarding and uniting teams.

“BridgeClimb is privileged to operate on an international icon and proud to host unique events that add tremendous value for corporate team building and incentive events. Our approach is agile and flexible to meet the objectives of any client, whether that be for Eastern, Western or Corporate markets, for small private bookings, large incentive groups or for local and international tourists.”

In recent years, BridgeClimb has hosted many special events and created several Climb products connected to Sydney's globally renowned festivals, such as Vivid Sydney, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year.

During Vivid Sydney, BridgeClimb introduced The Vivid Climb, offering Climbers the chance to escape the crowds and enjoy the magic of Vivid from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. In 2014, Climbers were able to experience the first ever interactive light installation at the summit and become the 'heartbeat' of the Bridge, where the rhythm of each Climber's heart illuminated the top of the Bridge in a pulsing vibrant light show as unique as the individual.

Returning in 2015 for its second year, The Mardi Gras Disco Climb celebrates the vibrancy and energy of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival with a disco experience on a stage like no other – the summit of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Participants dance and sing along to six Mardi Gras anthems under a shining mirror ball and also receive an 8-second video of their performance to keep as a lifelong memory.

Since the introduction of BridgeClimb Mandarin in 2013, BridgeClimb has hosted a number of special events for the Eastern market, including Chinese New Year. From a traditional lion dance at the summit, to a spectacular 15-metre long gold and white dragon scaling the arches of the Bridge, BridgeClimb has demonstrated a strong commitment to celebrating this important cultural occasion.

This year marks the launch of the first bespoke Chinese New Year product, The Karaoke Climb, which complete with two giant plasma screens, microphones, and a song list featuring five Chinese Karaoke favourites, allows Climbers to sing their hearts out with family and friends 134 metres above the harbour.

BridgeClimb also offers tailored Climb experiences for large groups, ranging from 10 to 10,000 or more, with the ability to operate under a super capacity model that allows for more frequent departures and increased group sizes.

BridgeClimb offers truly memorable experiences, perfect for team incentives, team building events, staff rewards and client entertaining. For more information on corporate climbs, please visit www.bridgeclimb.com/corporate or call (02) 8274 7775, ext 3.

BridgeClimb:

BridgeClimb, the dream of Chairman & Founder Paul Cave, is considered a 'must-do' tourist attraction in Sydney, with more than 3.2 million people, from more than 137 countries, having climbed the Bridge since it opened in 1998. Climbers can climb to the summit of this world famous icon on BridgeClimb, BridgeClimb Express and BridgeClimb Mandarin. Launched in response to the growing Chinese market in Australia, BridgeClimb Mandarin features local Mandarin speaking guides. BridgeClimb has won numerous awards including the 2012 'Best Guided Tour in Australia' Australian Traveller Reader's Choice Award.

Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival in full swing

The Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival kicked off in the Gia Vien district of the northern province of Ninh Binh in Vietnam on February 24 - the sixth day of the Lunar New Year – with the participation of thousands of pilgrims.

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc beat the ceremonial drum to open the festival, which will last throughout spring.

Launch participants symbolically released doves and offered incense to pray for happiness and national development. The event also featured folk games and artistic programmes.

The organising board said the pagoda has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors each of the first few days of the Lunar New Year.

Bai Dinh Pagoda is part of the Trang An Landscape Complex, recently recognised as a world cultural and natural heritage site by UNESCO.

The pagoda is a complex of the original and newly built Buddhist temples on Bai Dinh Mountain, nearly 200 metres above sea level.

The original 1,000 year-old Bai Dinh Pagoda (Bai Dinh Co Tu) is composed of temples worshipping Buddha, the Mountain God, and the Mother Goddess of the Forest. It lies about 800 metres from the Tam The Temple of the new Bai Dinh Pagoda area.

The recent additions are considered the largest Buddhist temples complex in Vietnam and currently hold several national record-setting relics, including the largest bronze Buddha statue (150 tonnes), the largest bronze bell (30 tonnes), and the largest number of Arhat statues (500 tonnes).

Take Pole Position With Exclusive Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel Formula 1 Packages

With fast engines, legendary parties and charismatic figures, the Formula 1 has become a must see in the calendar of true sport fans all over the world. In 2015, the Formula 1 circus will make pit stops in some of the most exciting hotspots, bringing the glitz and glamour back into the city. From the classic in Monaco to the one-of-kind night race in Singapore; Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel properties are the perfect place for travelers to indulge in the ultimate Formula 1 experience.

  • The F1 Grand Prix returns to Shanghai where drivers will be racing 56 laps on a 5.5 km circuit shaped like the Chinese character "上." From April 10-12 2015, racing enthusiasts can experience the F1 special package at the legendary Fairmont Peace Hotel. Guests enjoy complimentary daily breakfast, an upgrade to a Fairmont Gold Room with access to Fairmont Gold Lounge and choice of a one-way airport pick-up or drop-off. On top of that, guests benefit from extension stays with a 20% discount. The package is available on April 10-12, 2015 with rates starting from CNY 2850 plus 15% service charge per night. http://www.fairmont.com/peace-hotel-shanghai/special-offers/hotel-offers/promotions/ultimate-f1-experience-2015/
  • In Shanghai, guests are spoilt of choice: Swissôtel Grand Shanghai also welcomes F1 fans with a special offer between April 10-12 2015. Guests enjoy 10% off the best available room rate, 20% discount in the Café Swiss and the Flow Bar as well as complimentary internet and free access to the swimming pool and fitness center when staying a minimum of two nights in an Executive Club room. http://www.swissotel.com/hotels/shanghai/promotions/deals/f1-formula-one-package/
  • New to the FRHI portfolio is Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I in Barcelona. Spain's most energetic and sublime city is even more exciting when the Formula 1 circus is in town. Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I offers an exclusive package including the accommodation in a deluxe suite, complimentary daily breakfast, free wifi access, a welcome drink as well as free access to the outdoor and indoor heated pools and to the fitness room in the “The Royal Club Fitness & Spa”. The package is available from May 07-10 2015 with rates starting at Euro €599.00 per night. http://www.fairmont.com/barcelona/special-offers/hotel-offers/special-events/formula-1/
  • Probably the most prestigious event of the F1 championship, the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco is legendary. The famed Fairmont Hairpin Turn is an action-packed spot on the circuit, and Fairmont Monte Carlo hovers right above it. The hotel's exclusive Grand Prix Formula One Experience includes accommodation, access to the roof top terrace overlooking the famous Hairpin Turn, daily buffet breakfast and special Grand Prix welcome amenities. The package is available from May 21-25 2015 and rates start from €8990.00 per stay up to four nights based on double occupancy.
  • Daily during the racing days from 11pm to 5am, the famous Billionaire Club, the ultra-trendy nightclub created by Flavio Briatore, will welcome guests in the famous Salle d'Or for exclusive moments of clubbing entertainment with jet-setters, models, actors, singers and F1 drivers for three absolutely chic and exciting evenings. www.fairmontmontecarlogp.com
  • In Montreal, F1 is not just about the race, it is also about a whole city getting in gear for an exciting lineup of summer events. And it all kicks off with the Grand Prix du Canada when the international jet set takes over the city. From June 04-07 2015, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, ideally located in the heart of downtown, is just steps away from vibrant nightlife, activities and entertainment options. 
  • It is also connected to the Underground city and the subway for easy access to the racetrack. The Grand Prix du Canada offer is available from CAD $499.00 per night, based on double occupancy in a Fairmont room. Guests attending the F1 Gala or attending the race in corporate boxes will enjoy the gourmet cuisine of the hotel's catering service who has been a partner of the event for the last 15 years. http://www.fairmont.com/queen-elizabeth-montreal/special-offers/hotel-offers/special-events/grand-prix-du-canada/
  • In Singapore, the racing stars come out at night during the only evening race on the F1 circuit. Formula 1 aficionados can live the adventure with a stay in one of the city's finest luxury hotels - Raffles Singapore or Fairmont Singapore.
Raffles Singapore, an oasis of colonial style, calm and charm in the heart of modern Singapore, offers 15% off best available rates with complimentary daily breakfast for one or two persons when staying a minimum of three consecutive nights (18 to 20 September 2015 inclusive). Offer valid as of June 30, 2015, more information under http://www.raffles.com/singapore/offers/hotel-offers/singapore-grand-prix-early-bird-offer.

Strategically located at Turn 9 of the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Fairmont Singapore is the perfect location to feed the need for speed and indulge in thoughtful luxury for the Singapore Night Race. Until June 30, 2015, guests enjoy an early bird offer of 10% off circuit-facing room rates when staying a minimum of 3 nights, starting from SGD $1080.00 per room and night. http://www.fairmont.com/singapore/special-offers/hotel-offers/special-events/singapore-grand-prix-early-bird-offer-2015/.


Nearby, located just 10 minutes from the race circuit, at Swissôtel Merchant Court, Singapore, guests can benefit from an Early Bird Offer of 18% discount on room rate with minimum stay of three nights when booking before July 31, 2015. More information under: http://www.swissotel.com/hotels/singapore-merchant-court/promotions/deals/early-bird-offer/

  • Sochi's 5.9km street circuit, which goes around Sochi 2014 Olympic Park venues, will host the second Russian Grand Prix on October 09–12 2015. Swissôtel Sochi Kamelia offers a special Formula 1 package for the race weekend which includes accommodation with breakfast, F1 inspired chocolates, transfer from the hotel to the F1 circuit and access to the hotel's Spa & Sport Complex. http://www.swissotel.com/hotels/sochi-kamelia/promotions/deals/f1-grand-prix-packages/
  • Formula 1 in Abu Dhabi is entering its 7th year, and is fast becoming the Middle East's standout sporting event. F1 fans take pole position at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr with the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Experience, available for stays from November 26-30 2015. The offer includes a fifth night complimentary when guests book four consecutive nights in a Fairmont Gold Room or Suite, complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea in the Gold Lounge. In addition, guests can enjoy a 15% discount on food and beverage when dining at any Fairmont Bab Al Bahr outlets during their stay. http://www.fairmont.com/abu-dhabi/special-offers/hotel-offers/special-events/f1abudhabigrand-prixgoldenexperience/

**All packages unless noted otherwise are subject to availability, priced per room, per night, exclude taxes and are based on double occupancy. Prices are quoted in local currency.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Chinese New Year in Sydney

Model Sheep art Broadway Shopping Centre
The Chinese New Year was on Thursday, February 19. Many people around the world celebrated the new year in various ways, with parades, exhibitions, displays, decorations.

Sydney staged a Chinese New Year Festival from 13 February to 1 March. Many buildings joined in the celebrations with Chinese decorations.

The Queen Victoria Building in Sydney featured a display of red Chinese Lanterns.

The Broadway Shopping Centre displayed a model sheep that was made up of over 3,000 Mahjong tiles. It took a team of people more than 20 hours to create. 

Mahjong is a game originating in China and since has become popular in other countries as well. The playing tiles were traditionally made of bamboo, ivory or bone. 

QVB Chinese Lanterns
The Chinese Zodiac is made of 12 animals, with 2015 being the Year of the Goat. Sometimes this is also known as the Year of the Sheep. 

The confusion comes about because of the Chinese word yang. Actually, In Chinese the word yáng can refer to a sheep, goat, ram/buck,  or antelope).

New projects underpin Cairns business confidence

Direct Singapore flights, new projects and multi-million dollar tourism redevelopments have boosted confidence in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef (Australia) for incentives and meetings.

Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef Director Rosie Douglas said accessibility from Southeast Asia would further improve in May when SilkAir begins direct flights to Cairns from Singapore, adding an extra 20,000 airline seats a year to the destination.

“Our accommodation sector is moving forward with the Shangri-La Hotel The Marina Cairns completing its multi-million refurbishment of 36 Horizon Club rooms and expanding the Club Lounge to include a boardroom with state-of-the-art audiovisual facilities,” Ms Douglas said.

“Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park has unveiled two new event facilities including the Bundarra Cassowary Egg Theatre which will host its first conference next month in the lead-up to the completion of the Park’s $12 million redevelopment in April.

“Increased confidence in Cairns has led to Singapore’s Aspial Corporation starting construction on the $400 million “Nova8” seven-towers project in the heart of the city and work will soon start on the $50 million Cairns Aquarium.”

Ms Douglas said all eyes were on Cairns after its success last year in delivering the G20 meeting for Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors as well as the southern hemisphere’s largest tourism trade show, the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE14).

“On the back of these prestigious international events Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef experienced a 63 per cent increase in business event leads.

“Both events allowed the business events industry to show its professionalism on the world stage and demonstrate why the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef region can turn a meeting into an event to be remembered,” she said.

“With the two World Heritage areas of the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest side by side our region also can deliver truly unique settings for incentives.

“We are seeing good growth from China and United States in the incentive area and have appointed a business development manager in Shanghai to help further develop this market.”

Ms Douglas said the Cairns Delegate Advantage Program had been extended to Palm Cove and Port Douglas following consultation with meeting planners and partners.

“An initiative of the Cairns Convention Centre and Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef, the program involves 48 businesses offering discounts and value adds especially for delegates and these are included in a brochure in delegate satchels.”

Macau Continues to Grow in 2015

Fireworks - Macau Tower
For such a compact city, Macau is showing plenty of muscle when it comes to growth as a vital Asian centre for the MICE market.

And by judging the number of construction cranes to “decorate” the Cotai district between Taipa and Coloane islands, this growth is overwhelming - much to celebrate.

Since its establishment as a Special Administrative Region 15 years ago, the former Portuguese enclave has seen the rise of a vast number of contemporary additions - without losing sight of its five fascinating centuries of Chinese-European history.

Two plush international hotels – Crowne Plaza and Harbourview Hotel – are the latest additions on the peninsula along with a contemporary all-you-can-eat Tromba Rija Portuguese restaurant, housed in the 338 metre-high Macau Tower.

By the end of 2015, the popular Asian centre's Cotai area would have also seen the opening of the highly anticipated $US3.2 billion Hollywood-inspired Studio City, to be promoted in a new short film starring three Hollywood legends Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Brad Pitt.

Nearby, Galaxy Macau will be extended to include three new international hotels – a 250-room all-suite Ritz-Carlton and Asia's largest JW Marriott with over 1000 rooms and Broadway Hotel with a further 320 rooms. They will add to the already existing Banyan Tree Macau, Hotel Okura Macau and Galaxy Hotel.

To complement the additional hotels, a new vibrant street, aptly named Broadway, will open complete with hawker style stores, bars and restaurants, live entertainment and world class performances inside a 3000-seat Broadway Theatre. Broadway is expected to open in late May, 2015.

Also due to open at the end of the year is the Parisian which will feature a smaller version of the Eiffel Tower, complete with observation deck and 200-seat restaurant.

With such exciting additions, it's significant that the giant guide book publisher Lonely Planet would rank Macau among the Top 10 regions in the world to explore in 2015.

“Macau has seen a huge boom in recent years,” wrote Lonely Planet author Megan Eaves.

“Where else in the world can you make an incense offering at an ancient Chinese Buddhist temple in the morning, take the world's highest bungee jump in the afternoon, have a Michelin-starred meal in the evening topped off with a bottle of Portuguese vino, don your finest for a glitzy show and then pull up a plastic stool for some Chinese street food as a midnight snack?” she wrote.

In writing her review, Ms Eaves drew a list of “life-changing experiences” such as exploring the back streets of Macau's UNESCO World Heritage old town – “a mix of Portuguese and Chinese architecture found nowhere else on Earth”.

The prestigious Forbes Travel Guide also recognised Macau as the number destination in the world for five-star properties (hotels, restaurants and day spas).

Four restaurants – Belon (Banyan Tree Macau), Il Teatro (Wynn Macau), Tenmasa (Altira Macau) and Vida Rica (Mandarin Oriental Macau) - and an international hotel – Conrad Macao - brought to tally to an impressive 23.

In recent days the Macau Government Tourist Office expanded its Step Out, Macau program of suggested self-guided community walks by doubling the number to eight. Slight changes were also be made to the prebvious four routes, all available on a special App downloaded by Smart Phone users.

Look beyond 2015, and Macau can prepare for more change – with tens of thousands of additional hotel rooms to accommodate the growing leisure, business and MICE markets.

As construction continues on the ambitious 29.5km Hong Kong-Zuhai-Macau Bridge, due to open at the end of 2016, ground has been broken in a number of other hot spots on the Cotai Strip, reclaimed land linking the islands of Taipa and Coloane and home to the City of Dreams, Sands (The Venetian included) and the Galaxy.

MGM is celebrating a new and exciting chapter in the company's history with the breaking of ground on yet another Cotai project – a contemporary precinct which will include 1600 hotel rooms. It is expected to open in early to mid-2016.

Wynn Resorts has a 1700-room entertainment and hotel complex, also to open in 2016.

Of another giant magnitude will be the construction of a French Versailles-like Lisboa Palace, a project valued in excess of $AUD4.5 billion complete with three hotels including a Palazzo Versace and another designed by Karl Lagerfeld, the chief designer for the Chanel and Fendi fashion houses. This project is expected to be completed in 2017.

Details: Macau Government Tourist Office, phone (02) 9264 1488, or check out www.macautourism.gov.mo

Dreamtime 2015 to Be Hosted in Adelaide, South Australia

Tourism Australia kicked off AIME with the announcement that its signature trade-marketing event, Dreamtime 2015, will be held in the city of Adelaide in South Australia.

Dreamtime 2015 is set to further strengthen the $13 billion business events sector and will give Adelaide the opportunity to showcase its unprecedented level of investment in new and existing infrastructure to buyers from around the world.

Tourism Australia Managing Director John O'Sullivan said as well as being key to promoting Australia as a business events destination internationally, Dreamtime was vital to the broader industry Tourism 2020 targets.

"Dreamtime is integral to our broader Tourism 2020 industry targets to grow the business events sector to $16 billion annually by the end of the decade," Mr O'Sullivan said.

"Dreamtime is Australia's largest business events showcase, which allows us to connect with qualified buyers from key markets including Greater China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, New Zealand, USA and the United Kingdom.

"We believe Adelaide and South Australia provide the perfect gateway for our key international buyers to experience a fantastic array of experiences and destinations on offer in Australia – and it's an ideal time for the city to showcase its new developments.

"We look forward to working in partnership with Adelaide Convention Bureau to highlight some of the excellent business event facilities and experiences on offer in Australia to our key markets around the world," Mr O'Sullivan said.

Adelaide is already renowned for its 'ease of use' functionality and services to the business events sector, but this has been further enhanced with redevelopments of its major landmarks including a two stage $400m development of the Adelaide Convention Centre to deliver world leading convention infrastructure; a $350m investment into the Adelaide Casino; and a $535m renovation of the iconic Adelaide Oval, increasing seating capacity by over 14,000 and providing a revamp of its facilities and surrounds.

Hon Leon Bignell MP, South Australia's Minister for Tourism commented, "Adelaide, South Australia, is delighted and honored to be named host city for Dreamtime 2015".

"Adelaide is a vibrant city. With exciting redevelopments of the Riverbank Events and Entertainment Precinct, including major expansions to the world class Adelaide Convention Centre and iconic Adelaide Oval, we now have a hub for major business events that is second to none.

"Adelaide has been named as one of Lonely Planet's top ten cities to visit in 2014 and recently the New York Times singled out Adelaide as the city in Australia to visit this year. We are a hot destination and our big increases in visitor numbers is reflecting that.

Adelaide Convention Bureau CEO, Damian Kitto commented, "We are thrilled to be hosting
Dreamtime 2015. Adelaide Convention Bureau was strongly supported in its bid by the Government of South Australia through the South Australian Tourism Commission, and indeed the South Australian business events sector, all of whom recognised the great relevance, importance and potential for Adelaide as host city of Dreamtime 2015. South Australia's outstanding food and wine will underpin the Dreamtime program, further promoting the 'Restaurant Australia' campaign," Mr Kitto said.

Dreamtime 2015 will be held towards the end of the year, tentatively scheduled for 6 December, with buyers spending five days in Adelaide and the remaining three days on educational visits to other Australian destinations.

For more news from Australia visit www.beabeats.com.au to access more information

2015中国(上海)国际会奖旅游博览会公布全新场馆并与万豪集团合作

中国(上海)国际会奖旅游博览会代表即将迎来一个好消息,2015年盛会将在今年4月在一个全新的场馆召开——上海跨国采购会展中心(SHCEC),一个将会议与展览完美融合的场地。这个国际多功能综合体是沪上最新集会议、展览、活动和餐饮等多功能于一体的现代化、国际化的会展中心。

SHCEC坐落在苏州湖畔的上海长风生态商务区中心,与虹桥商务区毗邻。整个会展中心拥有16000平方米的室内展厅、9000平方米的会议厅、5000平方米的餐厅和800个车位的地下车库。

跨采中心市场营销总监Stone Shi透露称:“SHCEC是沪上最新的为国内外活动提供展览、会议、活动与餐饮服务的一站式平台。举办2015中国(上海)国际会奖旅游博览会将使我们的各项设施与能力得以展示。”

此外,万豪集团的三家酒店与IT&CM China合作,成为400多名受邀代表的官方酒店——上海新发展亚太万豪酒店、上海扬子江万丽大酒店和上海宝华万豪酒店。

“IT&CM China是中国领先的国际性MICE贸易展会,吸引了来自国内外的大批国家级与地区级会议观光局与旅游办事处。这是一个绝佳的平台,让我们得以接触到优质买家、国内外专业媒体以及业内专业人士。”上海新发展亚太万豪酒店营销总监Crystal Song评价道。

上海扬子江万丽大酒店总经理Jürgen Sterkau也表示:“多年来IT&CM China的声誉得到了业内客户与嘉宾的认可。作为官方酒店,上海扬子江万丽大酒店的强大市场占有率是毋庸置疑的,这会进一步强化我们作为上海领先的MICE酒店的地位。”

作为新参展商,面对四月即将到来的展会,上海宝华万豪酒店早已摩拳擦掌,跃跃欲试。总经理Ricky Lam称:“中国(上海)国际会奖旅游博览会是MICE行业内非常重要的活动,对于像我们这样以MICE为主的酒店来说尤其如此。作为上海最新的万豪品牌酒店,成为该项区域性重大MICE活动的合作伙伴是我们向市场展示实力的好机会。”

2015中国(上海)国际会奖旅游博览会将于2015年4月14日至16日举办。如需了解更多关于IT&CM China的信息,请访问 HYPERLINK "http://www.itcmchina.com" www.itcmchina.com。

关于IT&CM CHINA 2015

IT&CM China 2015将于4月14至16日在上海跨国采购会展中心举行,秉承”让中国走向世界,让世界了解中国”的主题,这将是该国际性展会连续第九年在上海召开。今年活动预计将吸引超3000名来自目的地管理公司(DMC)、专业会议主办(PCO)、商务旅行社和协会的专业参观者,受邀买家更有400人之多。现场更有近10,000次商务洽谈机会及60场商业、教育、互动环节。

展会由TTG亚洲传媒会展部联合国旅(北京)国际会议展览有限公司(隶属于中国国旅),及国际展会策划集团(MPI)共同主办。由上海市旅游局(SMTA),上海市会展行业协会(SCEIA),euromic, 国际专业会议组织者协会(IAPCO),国际大会及会议协会(ICCA),国际会议专业人士协会(MPI), 印度出境旅游经营商协会(OTOAI),亚太旅游协会(PATA),奖励旅游管理者协会中国分会(SITE China)及世界PCO联盟 (World PCO Alliance)共同支持。

CTW将于2015年4月14至16日举行的中国(上海)国际会奖旅游博览会同期亮相,我们很荣幸连续第五年成为上海会议周推荐活动。

更多展会相关信息,请访问www.itcmchina.com.

IT&CM CHINA 简介

中国首屈一指的国际专业会议、奖励旅游、会议和展览(MICE)的商业和交流平台

自2007年以来,中国(上海)国际奖励旅游及大会博览会已经成为中国市场上首屈一指的专业会议、奖励旅游、会议和展览(MICE)的商业和交流平台,致力于“让中国走向世界,让世界了解中国”的目标和宗旨。中国(上海)国际奖励旅游及大会博览会为国内外领先的MICE业内人士创建了一个共同探索新的商业机遇和加强既有和合作关系的平台,汇聚全球以及中国MICE供应商和买家共同打造一个瞬息万变的市场。三天的展会期中,与会者可以通过精心组织的商业约谈、展览展示、研讨会、社交活动以及展前展后旅行观光活动中得到商业、学习和交流活动的丰富投资回报。

China Southern Airlines increases flights on Guangzhou to Auckland route

Following on from the success of its summer peak season double-daily service on the Canton route, China Southern will be extending the current schedule to a year-round double-daily service. The new schedule will commence on 1 August 2015 and will be serviced by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

This latest announcement from China Southern Airlines is fantastic news for New Zealand inbound and outbound travellers as it will see an increase from 10 flights per week to 14 per week, year-round.

Mike Ma, China Southern Airlines’ general manager New Zealand, says, “We have great confidence in the Auckland-Guangzhou route due to the high level of tourism demand between China and New Zealand.”

“We have seen strong returns on our investment in the New Zealand market and the support we receive from Auckland Airport is certainly contributing to our success here. This increase in services also reinforces our desire to provide the best service possible for our customers,” says Mr Ma.

Norris Carter, Auckland Airport’s general manager aeronautical commercial, highlighted the economic benefit of the decision by China Southern to offer year-round double-daily flights on the Guangzhou to Auckland route.

“We forecast that this latest increase in services will add 95,000 seats on the Auckland to Guangzhou route, contributing $97 million to the New Zealand economy,” says Mr Carter.

“China is one of New Zealand’s top visitor markets and China Southern Airlines has recognised the opportunity that this represents. This airline started flying the Guangzhou to Auckland route in April 2011 with three services per week. Within three years it has increased flights on this route to double-daily in the peak season, and now to this latest offering of double-daily year-round. It is truly impressive to see a route grow so quickly,” finished Mr Carter.

The new double-daily year-round service follows on from the recent partnership between Auckland Airport and China Southern Airlines to engage celebrated chef Al Brown to redesign the inflight menu for China Southern’s Auckland to Guangzhou services.

The new service also aligns well with Auckland Airport’s ‘Four Seasons, Five Senses’ project, a project jointly funded by Auckland Airport and the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment.

“The ‘Four Seasons, Five Senses’ project aims to drive tourism growth across the seasons, throughout the year,” says Mr Carter. “This will be done by raising awareness within China of the unique and iconic activities that New Zealand has to offer during autumn, winter and spring. These activities will engage the five senses of travelers with a focus on high quality food, wine, cultural and adventure experiences.”

As the third largest airline in the world and the largest in Asia, China Southern has been expanded at a rapid rate from 10 million passengers in 1994 to 101 million in 2014.

37 million people visited Australia on business events in 2014

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) released a report by Ernst & Young (EY) highlighting that: Over 37 million people attended more than 412,000 business events across Australia in financial year 2013-14. This generated $28 billion in direct expenditure, 13.5 billion in direct value added, 179,357 direct jobs and $23.1 billion in total economic contribution (GDP).

The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) is an active member of BECA, and played a key role in the strategic development of the study. The EY report also accentuates the work AACB conducted in partnership with Deloitte Access Economics in 2014 on Australia’s International Business Events Sector: the Economic and Strategic Value Proposition.

AACB President Lyn Lewis-Smith welcomed the new report, as it further highlights the significant contribution that business events add to the Australian economy including jobs, taxes, productivity and regional dispersal.

“The Australian business events sector is now armed with a strong case warranting recognition and support by all levels of government. These important and complimentary findings also provide further backing to the Federal Government’s recent announcement of a new framework to attract business events to Australia.”

The EY research points out that the share of international delegates has increased three-fold in the total meeting and convention market over the last decade.

“This increase is significant to Australia,” added Lewis-Smith. “International business events and their delegates play a very important role by bringing new money into the country and offering trade and investment opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise occur.”

“The high yielding economic and strategic legacies resulting from business events continue long after the event has been held. Business events also play an integral part in contributing to the visitor and knowledge economies, helping Australia achieve its Tourism 2020 targets.”

“With the growth potential of Asian markets, government support is essential to ensure convention bureaux are in the best position to identify, bid for and win business events that align with national priority areas and better connect industry, academia, government and the private sector,” concluded Lewis-Smith.

Abu Dhabi expects further growth in tourism

Abu Dhabi looks forward to growth in visitor numbers this year even as a stronger dollar, falling oil prices and a rising supply of available hotel rooms have an impact on the tourism sector. Last year, a record 3.49 million tourists visited the emirate, according to the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).

Rashid Aboobacker, a senior consultant with TRI Consulting, said growth was helped by an uplift in both corporate activity on the back of large real estate and infrastructure projects, such as Etihad Rail and Khalifa Port, and significant growth in the leisure segment, particularly from India and China.

Arrivals increased by 25 per cent, exceeding last year’s target by nearly 400,000. This year’s target had been set at 3.5 million.“Indications are that 2015 will provide a more challenging operating environment, but we are committed to drive the sector,” Jasem Al Darmaki, the acting director general of TCA Abu Dhabi, said.“The market is likely to face some challenges this year that include a possible diversion of some [Arabian Gulf] tourists to Europe due to a weak euro against dollar, the potential impact of low oil prices on the sector if the prices remain low for a longer period of time, and the growth in supply expected this year,” said Mr Aboobacker.

India was again the largest foreign source market last year as 231,702 guests, or 32 per cent more than 2013, checked into hotels, TCA Abu Dhabi said. Abu Dhabi’s next biggest source markets are the UK, Germany, China, which grew the fastest in terms of number of tourists, and the US.

Good Morning Good Night Melbourne: Tourism Operators Team Up to Offer Unique New Package

Looking for a completely new way to see and enjoy Melbourne? Or wanting a special adventure experience for your incentive group wanting something quite unique?

The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, the only giant observation wheel in the Southern Hemisphere, and Global Ballooning Australia, one of Australia's leading hot air balloon operators, have teamed up to provide exactly that, and more.

Their exciting new Good Morning Good Night Melbourne package offers an early morning hot air balloon ride over the CBD and the city's leafy inner suburbs and an evening ride on the Melbourne Star.

The package ensures two stunning perspectives of Melbourne: dawn slowly breaking across the city from the hot air balloon and the city's nightscape from the 120-metre-high Melbourne Star, which also features its own LED lighting spectacular from dusk until midnight every evening.

"It's a unique way to enjoy a birds-eye view across Melbourne at two different times in the same day," Melbourne Star CEO Chris Kelly said.

"We think the package will have particularly strong appeal for visitors to the city who are looking for that truly memorable tourism experience, but it's also a fabulous new Melbourne adventure for locals and certainly a completely new way to celebrate a special event."

Global Ballooning Australia director and chief pilot, Kiff Saunders, said the package added a new highlight to the city's range of tourism experiences.

"The sensations of riding in a hot air balloon and on a giant observation wheel are in themselves highly memorable, with a distinctive lighter-than-air feel," he said. "Add in the unparalleled views of Melbourne at two very different times of the day and the Good Morning Good Night Melbourne Package becomes something very special."

A single ticket for the package starts from $472.00. The Melbourne Star and Global Ballooning Australia both offer wheelchair access. Tickets and booking details are available from www.melbournestar.com and www.globalballooning.com.au

The Melbourne Star is open daily from 10am to 10pm, with last admission at 9.30pm. The Melbourne Star is the first, more complex, solid steel wheel design to be built in the world to this size.

The Melbourne Star is owned by Sanoyas Rides Australia Pty Ltd and is managed by Melbourne Star Management Pty Ltd.

Global Ballooning Australia

Global Ballooning Australia is Victoria's largest hot air ballooning operator, with more than 15 balloons and the largest number of commercial pilots. It is the preferred operator of Tourism Victoria and are an award winning company offering customers a diverse range of products and the highest quality service. We are industry leaders in our field and our team are some of the most experienced in Australia.

Tourists to Da Nang rise 10 percent during Tet

The central city of Da Nang in Vietnam received nearly 200,000 tourists, including 76,000 foreign visitors, during the 9-day Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.

The figures, released by the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, represent a 10 percent increase from the same period last year.

Ba Na Hills Mountain Resort, one of the most popular destinations in the city, welcomed the biggest number of tourists with around 32,000 visitors, followed by Son Tra Peninsula and Ngu Hanh Son (Marble Mountain).

Travel agencies, such as Vitours and Saigontourist, offered special deals to attract travellers during the holiday, notably with a series of tours within the city and to central Viet Nam as well as Singapore, Thailand, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Many traditional cuisine events and concerts to welcome the New Year were also organised by local 4-5 star hotels and resorts while many 2-star hotels offered 20-50 percent discounts on room rates.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Shanghai Disney Resort Features Favorite Characters as Chinese Zodiacs

Just in time for the Chinese New Year, Shanghai Disney Resort today unveiled more details of its Garden of the Twelve Friends, a whimsical area of the theme park that recasts twelve beloved Disney and Disney•Pixar characters as members of the Chinese zodiac.

“Introducing the twelve Disney zodiac characters to our guests is one way of conveying the best wishes of Shanghai Disney Resort during this traditional festival of family reunion in China,” said Philippe Gas, Shanghai Disney Resort General Manager.

Continuing the tradition of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide, Shanghai Disney Resort will welcome guests to immersive, magical, multi-day experiences. Garden of the Twelve Friends blends Disney’s signature storytelling with traditional Chinese elements and pays homage to the central role of the Chinese zodiac in daily life in China. The garden will offer resort-goers with fantastic photo opportunities and the chance to create everlasting memories with their families, friends, and favorite zodiac characters who represent their own Chinese zodiac sign of the year.

Shanghai Disney Resort selected 12 Disney characters to accurately symbolize each element of the Chinese zodiac, while retaining their own distinctive traits. For example, Shanghai Disney Resort settled upon Remy as the Year of Rat. From the Disney-Pixar film Ratatouille, Remy is the rat-turned-chef, who embodies cleverness, determination and a remarkable sense of smell — the true spirit of the zodiac sign with a fresh twist.

In honor of 2015, the Year of the Sheep, Shanghai Disney Resort is excited to present this year’s zodiac character: the “Jolly Holiday” lambs from Disney’s Mary Poppins. These lambs represent the elegance, charm, and gentleness of the Sheep, as well as the ancient Chinese saying, “San Yang Kai Tai,” or, “Three Sheep Bring Good Luck.”

In the Garden of the Twelve Friends, the garden wall is decorated with flowering vines and colorful mosaic vignettes where every character of the Chinese zodiac is rendered in Disney style. The beautiful glass mosaics are created in close collaboration with local Chinese artists and craftsmen. The serene interior, designed to resemble a classic Chinese garden complete with lush cherry blossoms, represents the perfect place for families and guests to gather and relax together.

The Twelve Disney Characters of the Chinese Zodiac include:

  • The Rat: Rémy. In Disney Pixar’s Ratatouille, Rémy is a rat with big dreams – he longs to be a chef! With cleverness, determination… and a remarkable sense of smell… he turns the culinary world of Paris upside down.
  • The Ox: Babe. The Blue Ox. Loyalty is important to Babe. This colossal hero of Disney’s Academy Award nominated short film Paul Bunyan devotes his life to helping his friend – a giant lumberjack – tame the wilderness.
  • The Tiger: Tigger. Winnie the Pooh’s friend Tigger is confident and cheerful. As he exuberantly bounces about on his springy tail, it’s easy to see that he is proud to be the only “tigger” in the Hundred Acre Wood.
  • The Rabbit: Thumper. Sometimes the first friend is the best friend, especially when he is a rabbit! In Disney’s film Bambi, Thumper befriends a newborn fawn, and stands by him as he grows to be a prince of the forest.
  • The Dragon: Mushu. The fast-talking little dragon named Mushu may be small in size, but he is big in spirit. His enthusiasm and bravery make him the perfect guardian for Disney’s Mulan on her quest for family honor.
  • The Snake: Kaa. The wily python from Disney’s The Jungle Book, can be charming like other snakes. And he hates to fail, although his hilarious attempts to hypnotize other jungle creatures never work.
  • The Horse: Maximus. This determined, quick-witted guard horse from Disney’s Tangled will not give up until justice is done! Which is why he helps reformed thief Flynn Rider free Princess Rapunzel from her tower.
  • The Sheep: Jolly Holiday Lambs. The lambs featured in the “Jolly Holiday” song of Disney’s Mary Poppins represent the qualities that make those born in the Year of the Sheep so special – elegance, charm, serenity, and gentleness.
  • The Monkey: Abu. The hero of Disney’s Aladdin is lucky to have a loyal friend like Abu. Sure his “Monkey Business” gets him into plenty of trouble, but his agility and cleverness are handy in dangerous situations.
  • The Rooster: Allan-A-Dale. This charming and melodic rooster narrates Disney’s Robin Hood. But Allan-A-Dale is also Robin’s trusted ally, joining him and his “merry men” in fighting injustice and helping the poor.
  • The Dog: Pluto. Like all dogs, Pluto is honest, faithful and friendly. His cheerful demeanor makes him a perfect companion for the optimistic Mickey Mouse, and he has become one of Disney’s biggest stars.
  • The Pig: Hamm. In the Disney Pixar Toy Story films, Hamm plays a wisecracking plastic piggy bank, but he’s a loyal and trustworthy companion to the end. He’ll keep your extra coins safe too!

Brisbane's Convention Bureau Generates $30 Million in Leads Post-G20

The Brisbane Marketing Convention Bureau has generated 29 leads with the potential for a combined economic impact upwards of $30 million following the G20 Leaders Summit.

General Manager, Conventions and Business Events, Rob Nelson said successfully hosting the G20 had enhanced Brisbane's reputation as a city capable of hosting major events to the highest international standards.

“There is no doubt the G20 was a game-changer for Brisbane as a business events destination,” Mr Nelson said at AIME 2015.

“The G20 was truly a once-in-a-generation chance to focus the world's attention on our city.”

The Convention Bureau's involvement in the Brisbane Global Cafe, a key lead-in event for the summit, opened new doors through which to seek out new business events for the city.

“The Global Cafe focussed on five key global issues and challenges, attracting 80 high-calibre speakers which included leading researchers and senior business figures from around the world and within Australia,” Mr Nelson said.

“Since the event the Bureau has worked hard to further develop the relationships and networks formed during that week to really firm up a case for Brisbane as a brilliant business events destination.

“For instance, the Convention Bureau co-ordinated the “Improving Human Life'' theme of the conference and the legacy of this for us has been pure gold.

“As you may know, Brisbane scientists like the incredible Professor Ian Fraser have been responsible for some amazing breakthroughs and the Improving Human Life theme enabled us to build on the reputation of Brisbane as a research centre of excellence.

“Our engagement with local and international research institutions both in sourcing speakers for this theme and co-ordinating debate on other topics at the Global Cafe created a fantastic climate for future collaboration.

“Specifically, our strategy post-Global Cafe has been to secure business events leads utilising these connections.

“We continue to engage with this network.”

Mr Nelson said another important legacy of the G20 was the development of the Brisbane Welcomes the World program, also delivered by Brisbane Marketing.

“An extension of the well-regarded Greeters program, Brisbane Welcomes the World is a destination welcoming and way-finding program that builds on Brisbane's reputation as one of the friendliest cities in the world,” said Mr Nelson.

“The program is centred on providing visitors with a personal connection to the city, connecting them with events, culture and stories that will be remembered and cherished for years to come.

“Ahead of the G20, anyone within the local tourism industry who played a role in welcoming and hosting visitors was encouraged to take part in the first phase of the program.

“Brisbane Welcomes the World equipped the service industry with the sort of information and training they needed to answer visitor questions thoughtfully and accurately, provide useful local tips and pass on Brisbane's stories.

“The program was enthusiastically embraced by more than 2000 participants who worked in hotels, venues, transport, events, attractions, retail, restaurants, cafes and bars. It also included G20 Taskforce staff.

“It truly was an army of well-prepared Brisbane hosts which greeted World Leaders, delegates and media last November.

“The beauty of the Brisbane Welcomes the World program is that it can be tailored to various industries and is now available to conference staff and volunteers as an exclusive extra, personal service for delegates.”

The first example of this being utilised for business events saw the pre-event training of volunteers for the 29th International Horticultural Congress, staged in Brisbane last year.

“They received detailed and insightful information about significant horticultural and botanic features of Brisbane along with general facts about the city, its lifestyle, culture and varied attractions,” said Mr Nelson.

“This ensured delegates received personalised hospitality and a customised approach to their needs.

“It also left them with memories of Brisbane we hope they will cherish and ideally, a real desire to come back again and again.”

Exciting New Brisbane Business Events Offerings Out in Force at AIME

Three new accommodation properties are among a cutting-edge contingent of Brisbane's business events offerings attending AIME 2015 this week in Melbourne.

The Brisbane Marketing Convention Bureau exhibition has partnered with 10 co-exhibitors to showcase the city's business event credentials.

Brisbane Marketing CEO John Aitken said the Convention Bureau's attendance at AIME would remind business event organisers that Brisbane had successfully hosted the world's biggest business event in 2014.

“Successfully hosting the G20 Leaders Summit in 2014 enhanced Brisbane's reputation as a city capable of hosting major events to the highest international standards while meeting the most demanding of global expectations,” Mr Aitken said.

“The G20 furthered Brisbane's aim to be seen as a serious player in the Asia Pacific and one of the world's friendliest cities.

“The Leaders Summit also ensured Brisbane underlined its standing as a world-class business and major events destination worthy of consideration by event planners, no matter what kind of conference they have in mind.”

General Manager, Conventions and Business Events, Rob Nelson will attend AIME for the first time following his appointment to the Bureau in January.

“I am looking forward to meeting with delegates and speak about wonderful new accommodation, service and venue additions to our city,” Mr Nelson said.

“In 2014, we saw the world's first NEXT Hotel open its doors and Australia's first TRYP Hotel begin operations while Four Points by Sheraton joined Alpha Mosaic and the boutique Gambaro Hotel among the new offerings.

“We're also delighted to have Australia's first Capri by Fraser, which will be opening soon, and the New Inchcolm Hotel and Suites and another Australian-first, Hotel Jen, here with us at AIME.

“Looking further ahead there are also three new hotel and conference offerings due to be completed in 2017.

“These include the Howard Smith Wharves revitalisation project, with a five star boutique hotel comprising 150 rooms as well as a 1500 pax conference centre.

“Also due for completion in 2017 is the Pullman Ibis Conference Centre Brisbane Airport, which will include a conference and meeting centre for 300 and we're also very excited about the new Emporium Hotel South Bank.

“In 2016 Rydges will increase its Brisbane offering as part of the Brisbane Showgrounds Regeneration Project, right next to the Royal International Convention Centre.

“These new additions mean almost 900 rooms will be added to the city by 2017.

“With the proposed Queens Wharf entertainment and hotel precinct in the wings plus a new W Hotel on the cards in 2018, the sky's truly the limit for Brisbane.”

The Team Brisbane stand at AIME 2015 will include information on the latest products on offer from 10 co-exhibitors:
  • Accor Brisbane
  • Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
  • Capri by Fraser
  • Hotel Jen Brisbane
  • The New Inchcolm Hotel and Suites
  • Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
  • QAGOMA
  • Royal International Convention Centre
  • Rydges South Bank
  • Sofitel Brisbane Central

For more information on business events in Brisbane visit: http://www.choosebrisbane.com/conventions